Our Mobile Podcast Studio, “The Family Stone” Could Have Been Better, and Go See “King Kong.”

By:

The Dude on the Right


I finally finished my initial vision of my mobile podcast studio, and this
podcast was made using that same "studio," I wonder why people aren’t going to
see "King
Kong
," and "The
Family Stone
" could have been such a better film without the easy, cheesy,
tear-jerker sub-plot.  If this mobile podcast studio works like I hope,
we’ll have Monday podcasts of "Stu and The Dude’s Weekend Wrap-ups" and more
importantly, our Video Podcasts of "Stu and The Dude Review the Movies for You." 
Hopefully not our last podcast of 2005, but here’s hoping 2006 eclipses your
2005 in any aspect.

As always, I welcome your comments.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Download and Listen Here Subscribe Here



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Go and see “King Kong,” Radio Shack Still Has Problems, and I Really Wanted to Like “The Family Stone.”

By:

The Dude on the Right

First off, and I’m hoping word of mouth will propel this movie, but for goodness
sake if you are a fan of movies, or if you just like an entertaining movie, or
you just want to spend about three hours immersed in a time of wonder, or if you
might want to get weepy, or you are curious to see how movie-making has changed
from the 1933 version to this version, go see "King Kong" at a theater near you. 
It did okay at the box office this weekend, around $50 million, but not nearly
the numbers the film studio was hoping for I’m sure.  But as movies come
and go, I’m hoping "King Kong" has some staying power, kind of like "Titanic,"
because it deserves it.  I was this close to changing my mind and seeing it
again today, instead of "Syriana,"  and between the two, "King Kong" is a
million times more entertaining (although "Syriana" does challenge your mind a
little more).  Fine, it’s not for those under, probably 10 or 11 or so, but
for everyone else, the dudes will love the action, the dudettes will love the
sentimentality, and sure, you know how it ends, but you knew the Titanic sank
and you still went to see that one.  "King Kong" in 2005 does not deserve
to be a box office miss-step.  Enough preaching, now to Radio Shack, and
this story will probably make this blog a little too long, but I’ve got to write
what I’ve got to write, so let’s get to it.

My podcast a few days spoke about
my disappointment in visiting a couple of Radio Shack stores, and the lack of
really getting me the items I needed.  I have to say that my experience
yesterday was better, but at one store, still lacking, not because of the sales
dudette not wanting to help me, but because of poor training in my eyes, and
that’s not a good thing as we come upon Christmas.  You see I’ve been
working on this "not so high tech nor super high quality" portable podcast
studio.  My goal is to be able to make a multiple person podcast on the
road, and even get it posted, and all of it fitting in a nice case.  First
necessity a laptop, and since it’s the holiday season, I had that licked and at
little bit of a break.  Other than the nice case, the rest of the parts
should have been easily available at one or two of my local Radio Shack stores. 
They sell basic microphones and a portable mixing board capable of either four
microphones or two microphones and one line input.  They also sell the
patch cables, wind screens for the microphones, and 9 volt batteries.  So
last week I started my hunt, and at the first store I went to they had nothing I
needed on display, nor the tags where the item might have been so I could
inquire if they might have had it in the back room.  That and they didn’t
greet me.  Next stop the mall.  Not too busy, a couple of salespeople
talking amongst themselves, and I give every indication I’m looking to buy
something.  Yup, I found the mixer, but oddly enough the basic microphones
were nowhere to be seen, and even though I picked up the mixer, was making sure
it had all of the ports, plugs, outputs, that I needed, narry a sale-dude came
over to ask me if I was interested in buying anything.  I don’t play that
game, especially since I know how the sales game should at least be played. 
At the third store, I have to admit that the dude was nice enough, but upon
telling him what I was looking for, and not checking in the back, or at least on
the computer, he announced they didn’t have any, but he could order them for me. 
I wanted to buy, if I wanted to order I would do so on the web.

So yesterday I
was on a mission, to finally get all of the damn things I needed.  I did
some initial investigative work the day before, where at least the Radio Shack
web site said a different store had, in stock as of Friday, the items I were
looking for, and after seeing "The Family Stone," I headed the dude-mobile in
the direction of that store.  Upon entering the store I was greeted by who
seemed to be a newbie, mostly because she was younger and asked me a taught
sales line of "Hello, what brings you into Radio Shack today?"  It’s
actually a good sales line, but most sales-folk forget it after a while, when
they have become disgruntled as sales-folk, and just say something really
generic like "Is there something I can help you find?"  Anyway, enough of
my knowing sales technics.  Being a previous Manager of a Radio Shack, and
knowing all of the things they used to look for in a saleperson at the end of
the day at the corporate level, I figured, hoped, wanted this to be her easiest,
sort of high ticket, multiple line item especially since it included a battery,
and I might even spend the extra couple of bucks on the service plan to help her
out, sale of the day.  I was her perfect customer, knowing exactly what I
needed, knowing the Radio Shack product line, knowing she didn’t know the add-on
items like the wind screens and the battery needed for the mixer, and knowing
that if I bought the couple of buck service plan on the microphones I could
pretty much walk into a Radio Shack a couple of years from now, say the
microphone wasn’t working, and be given a new one on the spot.  But, sadly,
her training was nowhere to be found, and I really felt bad for her.  She
wasn’t really sure of the mixer I was looking for, but there was one, in the
box, on the shelf, so I nicely told her it was the first thing I was looking
for.  Next, there weren’t any microphones on the shelf, out of the box, nor
the boxes for the microphones, so I nicely asked if that meant they were out of
stock.  She didn’t think they were, but they might be in the back, so she
went to her manager, with the tag from the shelf that clearly said
"Unidirectional Microphone," stating that I wanted two of them, and her manager
said there were two microphone stands in the back room, somewhere on a top
shelf.  The girl came back with the microphone stands and I had to crush
her the first time by informing her I was looking for microphones, not mic
stands, and I could hear the nervousness in her voice as she went back to her
manager, who somewhat scolded her, then sent her back in the back room, where
she came out with two microphones, and we proceeded to head to the counter,
where I forgot all about the wind screens.  The girl starts ringing up the
sale, finishes clicking on everything, and comes up with a total of a little
over twenty bucks.  I’m too honest, and felt bad at this time because I
also noticed she grabbed two different microphones that weren’t even the mic’s I
was looking for, and nicely said "Something must be wrong."  Alright,
enough rambling.  Still rattled, the girl went into the back room, turns
out they only had one of the microphones I was looking for, and as I kept trying
to be up-beat with her, that mistakes happen and all, I couldn’t help but wonder
what happened to at least the simple training that should be necessary in a
store such as Radio Shack.  All the manager did, without doing it, was set
up this girl, who seemed nice enough, and eager enough, to fail.  Finally I
got smart, called another store saying I needed X number of these, X number of
these, and one of these.  The dude, Alex, plugged the numbers into his
computer, said the computer showed he had all of them but wanted to quickly
check the back room to make sure the microphones were back there.  He came
back on the line, said they were in stock, I told him I would be there soon, he
nicely asked "Please ask for Alex when you come in," and he had the easiest sale
of the day.  I still feel a little bad for the younger dudette from the
earlier store, because she at least tried, much more than I can say for the
stores before hers, and Alex either had a manager who really taught him the
ropes getting into the holiday season, or at least just knew an easy sale when
he saw it.

Look, I’m still a fan of the Shack, still know that when I need
certain things I know where I can go, but from now on, I suppose if I’m really
looking for something I should call first, doing all of the selling to myself,
and just be bummed I’m not getting the commission or perks they used to give
when I was there.

Well, that’s enough lamenting about my Radio Shack struggles
these days.  I’ve got a podcast yet to do on my mobile podcast studio and a
Chicago Bears game to watch.  That and still get this blog, the podcast,
and my review of "The Family Stone" posted.  There’s never enough hours in
a Sunday sometimes.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Some New Postings and a Random Thought.

By:

The Dude on the Right

This is just a quick blog for some updates if you want them.  First off,
there’s a review of "King
Kong
" on the website, and I loved it, and also, now, want to stalk Naomi
Watts.  Second, there’s a

new podcast
with a quick discussion of my disappointment of two Radio Shack
stores, my analysis of how to lose a million dollars on "Survivor," and a quick
audio review of "King Kong."

There was supposed to be a big winter storm here,
in the Chicagoland region, but it didn’t happen.  I think winter weather is
harder for weather folks to forecast, but that’s just a random thought right
now.  In any case, click on the links if you want to, and see you next
time.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Radio Shack is Slipping, How to Lose A Million Dollars on “Survivor,” and a Quick “King Kong” Review.

By:

The Dude on the Right


Shopping today, I was disappointed at a couple of Radio Shacks I visited,
especially since
I
used to manage one
, and that’s my first podcast topic.  Most of the
podcast, though, deals with how to lose a million dollars on "Survivor,"
and a little bit on how much I’m in love with
Naomi Watts,
and loved "King
Kong
."

As always, I welcome your comments.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Download and Listen Here Subscribe Here



Yahoo! Podcasts






Bill, I’ll Miss You Buddy.

By:

The Dude on the Right

It was a sad day at The Dude household last week as I lost one of my "kids." 
I’m really not sure exactly what caused the untimely death, but my best guess is
that it was one of my crabs.  Yes, Bill, one of my fish, died last week.

Bill was a good fish.  A Court Jester Goby by birth, Bill was actually the
third addition to my family, following the adoptions of Steve, a Clown Fish, and
then Ashley, a Blue Tang.  When I got him he came as part of an algae
cleaner pack, complete with some crabs and snails.  Immediately part of my
family, Bill didn’t seem to mind his new friends, but I saw something sort of
strange going on:  Bill was moving the coral gravel under one of my lava
rocks.  I was a little perplexed, but as I read a little bit about the
Court Jester Goby, I realized he was just building a home because my aquarium
set-up really didn’t have an instant nook or cranny for him to call home.

So,
there he was, one little piece of coral at a time, sucking it into his mouth,
then spitting it out, and ever so slowly he built himself a little cave under
the lava rock, and for a couple of years, this is what Bill called home, except
when I did a major tank overhaul, cleaning out the gravel.  Not seeming sad
or anything, he just started the home building process over again, until, alas,
he had his new little cave to call home again, at least until I destroyed it,
again.  But Bill would poke his head out every now and then, swim around
the tank, nibble on some algae, and enjoy breakfast and dinner when I served
them to the rest of the family.

But then, early last week, something didn’t
seem right.  Sure, every now and then, I wouldn’t really notice Bill for a
day or two, or maybe just catch a glimpse of him, but it occurred to me I hadn’t
seen him in a while, and I became a little worried.  So I removed the lava
rock over his home, and there was Bill, still alive, but not looking well,
especially since he didn’t swim away in fear when I removed the rock.  I
knew something was wrong, but fish-tank wise, all the levels were good, so I
decided to set up a quarantine tank for Bill so I could get a closer look at
least, and if something needed to be added to the water to help him, it wouldn’t
affect the other kids.  With that tank set up and Bill transferred over, he
still didn’t seem well, and I noticed what looked like a cut/injury to his
underbelly.  I was going to try and take him to my favorite fish store, but
sadly, by the next day, Bill’s time on this earth had come to an end.  Bill
had gone to that great aquarium in the sky, where all of the brine shrimp is
free.

With my tank quality being okay, and no visible signs of a wacky fish
disease, the only thing I could really come up with was that somehow one of the
crabs must have snagged him.  Or maybe he just died of old age.  I
really didn’t know how old Bill was, I mean, it’s not like I gave birth to him
and actually had his birth day, but he was about 2 1/2 inches long, so at least
I hope he had a fairly decent life.

I’ll
miss Bill.  Like I wrote before, Bill was a good fish.  He was rarely
skittish (Ashley still freaks out every time I walk in front of the tank), just
seemed to like to rebuild his house after I destroyed it, eat when he was
hungry, and take the occasional dump in the tank, kinda like what most good fish
do.  Steve and Ashley seem to sense something is different, but as a
parent, I really don’t know how to tell them that one of their siblings is gone,
especially since you can’t really have a funeral for them to attend (although I
suppose, I could have scooped them out of the tank into a plastic bag, and had
them see what happens to fish when they pass away), that and the fact that I
don’t speak Clown Fish nor Blue Tang.  I think Steve and Ashley will get
over it, and at least I have a nice picture of Bill to remember him by.

Goodbye Bill.  I’ll miss you buddy.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

“60 Minutes,” “Aeon Flux,” and an Ode to Bill

By:

The Dude on the Right


I’m getting frustrated by winter already, but that’s a story for another
podcast.  This podcast deals with the likes of the CBS show "60
Minutes
" and why do they insist on supposedly having it start at 7PM EST/6PM
CST during football season, especially since it is messing with my finale of "Survivor," you can listen to what I thought about "Aeon
Flux
," and listen to my Ode to Bill, one of my kids that I lost last week
in a tragic fish incident.

As always, I welcome your comments.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Download and Listen Here Subscribe Here



Yahoo! Podcasts






My Christmas Display is Done.

By:

The Dude on the Right

Fine, I don’t promise anymore.  Again, this blog was supposed to be about
the size of a man’s unit, with a totally unscientific study by Trash about Garth Brooks,
and the rantings of one of our staff members, Whammy, but alas, I finally
accomplished something more important than giving you dudettes supposed tools to
help you determine if you really want to get down with a dude based on, well, it
will just have to wait, because this is more important in my life right now,
especially since getting down with a dude will never be important in my life. 
What could be more important?  I finally finished my Christmas display.

If you read my

last blog
, you found out that my Christmas decorating was not going very
well.  Decorations were all over the floor, I was one track short of
completing my train set-up, I had to buy more train
track connectors, and I was
almost ready to just say "Screw it." and leave the display in total disarray
because, well, as Christmas is approaching, pretty much, every day, I go from
being filled with the holiday spirit to being a total Scrooge.  I finally
just decided to get the damn thing finished, and I finally finished it, but it
wasn’t easy.

First off, I decided I needed a couple of new additions, and on
my way back home from a weekend with old friends in Chicago, I stopped at the
first American Sales store (they sell the
village series that I started collecting) on my way back, and as I looked, on display, they had
the extra lighthouse I wanted, they had the windmill I wanted, and they had the
boat I wanted, but they didn’t have any of them in stock to sell.  Them my
obsessiveness kicked in, because, as I continued heading home,
I knew I couldn’t finish this
display without them.  So I drive closer to my house, supposedly
remembering where the next store was, but, low and behold, I forgot the powers
that be turned this store into an outlet store.  I started swearing a lot,
especially since I was in total "I have to get these pieces" mode or else I
probably wouldn’t have even been able to get to sleep.  So, yes, I drove
down the street, to the new American Sales store, and yes, they had everything I
needed;  The boat, the windmill, and the lighthouse, and I also picked up what I
hoped would be enough fake snow.

Finally back at home, safe and sound, and
over the course of a few days, I knew I needed a better game-plan than I had
before, so I formulated it.  First off, get the train track secured to the
plywood, using anything from thumbtacks to wood screws if necessary.  With
the train track finally secured, it was time for the basic layout of the
buildings and the mountain for the ski hill.  Envisioned in my head, things
started
to come together except for the fact that the new, plastic, pebble road, needed
to be straightened out (it comes in a roll), and for a change, the internet was
no help at all.  Not really sure of the best way to do this, I heated a pot
of boiling water, put the rolls of "road" in the pot, and let them simmer a bit. 
After that bit, I laid them out on the floor, flattening them with a bunch of
Pyrex baking dishes, and low and behold, this actually worked.

The next issue,
when dealing with these goofy village buildings, is getting the power to them,
but somehow that all worked out, and alas, my lighthouses were lighthousing, the
sawmill pond was sawmilling and ponding, my ski-lift was ski-lifting, my
windmill was windmilling, and my boats were, well, not really boating, just
sitting there on some blue plastic that is supposed to be water, but at least
their lights were lighting.  All that working and the train was still,
well, training.

Finally
the last project was at hand, re-hang the Christmas ornaments that fell off of
the tree at my last debacle, and then, lastly, get all of the snow positioned. 
Surprisingly I had enough snow, the ornaments all fell into place (except I do
need to get some super-glue to fix my Angel and Snoopy), but, for the most part,
other than cleaning up the rest of the mess in my living room, my Christmas
display is done.  Finally.  And just in time for the six inches of
snow that fell this afternoon and evening that gave me a nearly three hour drive
back to my dude-pad today, mostly my fault, because I wasn’t as good as a
weatherman as I usually am.  Maybe I should have called my sister, she’s
the one that really needs a "Weather Channel" Intervention, but that’s another
story for another blog, or maybe a podcast.  Merry Christmas to those of
you that are Christmasers, and Happy End of the Year to those of you who aren’t.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Christmas Decorating is Becoming a Disaster

By:

The Dude on the Right

Okay, so this, my next Blog, isn’t about a scientific study about unit size,
hopefully for you dudettes, it will be the next, but I just wanted to lament
about my Christmas decorating and how it isn’t going too well so far. 

The Dude’s Original Christmas Tree

My Christmas decorating used to be the easiest thing in the world, usually
taking about 15 minutes. It started probably about six years ago, when I finally
broke down and bought a tree. Now, me, being the generally lazy decorator that I
am, of course bought a tree with lights pre-installed. I had ornaments thanks to
my Mom ordering me Hallmark ornaments for a number of years, and so, I moved one
of my end tables in front of the front room window, assembled the tree, put on
the ornaments, and even bought some Christmas tree skirting. Bamm, that first
time it took me about 60 minutes to go from opening the box to having a lit tree
complete with ornaments.

Christmas came and went that year, and as it went, I was faced with the crappy
task of packing away the ornaments, taking apart the tree, and in all honesty,
this seemed like it would take longer than the assembly. But then a moment of
genius occurred to me. I had a spare bedroom upstairs, the tree wasn’t that
heavy (it’s only a 4 1/2 foot fake tree), so I said to myself, "Self, why don’t
you just carry the tree upstairs, ornaments and all, throw an old bed sheet over
it, and then next year, all you have to do is move the end table, carry the tree
down the stairs, and you’d be done?" And so, for years, that is exactly what I
did. I’d get back from the Old Country after Thanksgiving, move my end table, go
upstairs and remove the bed sheet, carry down my decorated tree, and
"VoilĂ !" , about 15 minutes
from start to finish, my Christmas decorating was done. I was always so proud of
the time it took me to decorate that whenever I was in a conversation about how
long it would take someone to deck their halls, and had to regale those present
with my genius.

My bare tree this year.

Then, visiting a friend of mine, I was shamed, at least in my head, at the
total lameness of my Christmas decorating. At her house they had this giant
village built, in their basement, that stretched along one wall and halfway
along another, and as proud as I was that my decorating only took 15 minutes, in
my head I decided something more needed to be done. So, after Christmas was
over, I saw an ad that the village houses and props were 75% off, so it started. 
I bought a couple of houses, a lighthouse, and the next year, my decorating
started to get more complicated. This was a few years ago. Then I added a
ski-lift, an old train set, and things got a little worse, although not as bad
as this year. In the previous year I sort of had the train set halfway done as I
didn’t have the width to make the full loop. It looked alright, but the train
didn’t work. So, this year, I calculated all of the space needed, set up the
plywood, and started to get to work. This is where things really started to go
wrong. First mistake, bringing down my ornamented Christmas tree and plopping it
on the plywood first. Yup, there was my tree, standing proud, only now I needed
to install the train track.

Ornaments strewn on the floor.

No biggy, until, well, sprawled along the plywood trying to get the
thumbtacks put in to secure the train track, my svelte body under the tree,
well, wouldn’t you know it, I lifted my back just a little too much, and then
the tree started to tumble, I caught the tree, but not before 90% of the
ornaments decided to vacate their place on the tree and onto the floor.

Great, my decorating is now starting to go horribly wrong, now I’ve got to
re-ornamentate the tree, and the angel on the top of the tree, while taking her
tumble, well she lost her wings.

But that wasn’t all.

Nope, finally settling into the fact my decorating was getting slightly more
entailed than I planned it to be, I continued laying the train track, only to
quickly realize that I didn’t have enough track connectors. So much for getting
my decorating done on that night. So, decorating not finished, I go to bed, wake
up the next day, head to the hobby store, get more track connectors, and I’m
psyched that "Yes, I can finally finish this Christmas decorating crap this
evening, it will be great, the train will work, and it will officialy be the
Holiday Season in the dude-pad." Evening comes, and begin decorating again, and
I thought I would be creative with the train by kinda loopy-looping it rather
than just having a normal oval, except there was one other problem – I
miscalculated the amount of track needed. Yup, there I was, most of the track
tacked down, getting towards at least finishing the train, when, low and behold,
I was one track short. One freakin’ track short.

A section of track is needed.

I’ve already spent way to much time on this project, I’ve got a tree with
only a few ornaments left on it, I’m sure I need more fake snow, and I need ONE
PIECE OF TRACK THAT I COULD HAVE BOUGHT AT THE HOBBY STORE EARLIER IN THE DAY
BUT NOW THE STORE IS CLOSED.

I thought of just leaving my decorating as is, tree half done, train not
finished, ski-lift still in its box, especially since I rarely entertain, so who
is going to see it anyway, and wouldn’t it be a funnier story if I had people
over with my "not done" decorating, but, after this blog, I’m going back to
work. I decided I will untack some of the train track, remove one piece,
re-assemble the train, so hopefully I can at least get the train going. Then
it’s time to unpack my village, get the skiers skiing and the boat boating, and
I can almost bet you by the end of the night, I will have one last problem, not
enough fake snow.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Thanksgiving, An Apology, and I’m Jealous of Oprah.

By:

The Dude on the Right


Well, Thanksgiving is over, and there is usually at least one story from a
Thanksgiving that is sort of entertaining, and I’m pretty boring at telling
them, but this Podcast has a story about me, my sister, and my under the age of
seventeen year old niece, going to see "Saw
II
."  Also is some talking about staying at the old homestead instead
of a hotel, and my being jealous of Oprah, especially as her "My
Favorite Things
" show came around.

As always, I welcome your comments.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Download and Listen Here Subscribe Here





“Walk the Line,” Weepy During “The Biggest Loser, ” and Some News.

By:

The Dude on the Right


Catching up on my television watching, I admit, and fine, call me a "puss," but
I got weepy as I was watching "The
Biggest Loser
."  I also found a couple of interesting news articles,
but for most of this podcast, I talk about the movie "Walk
the Line
," and brought some totally
high-techness
into our podcast.  I found some classic Johnny Cash music, complete with
pops, clicks, and skips.  I’ve been a fan since
I was 2 1/2
, and loved the movie, but my podcast rambles a bit and forgets
to talk about my re-found love for
Reese Witherspoon.

As always, I welcome your comments.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Download and Listen Here Subscribe Here